| Aug 10, 2006


Feature Article - August 10, 2006

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Feature Article - August 10, 2006

FlintonCountry BluegrassJamboree

byJeffGreen

In the winter of 2005 when Duane and Donna Thibault began working with the Flinton Recreation Committee to promote a bluegrass festival, they were hoping that they could develop a small festival that could cover its costs and promote the local community.

The first Jamboree did just that, and for their second annual festival the Thibaults hoped to see some growth in attendance. But the growth that occurred surprised everybody.

“Last year we had 65 trailers come for the weekend, and this year we had over 170. The walk-in crowd was up as well. It was quite something,” Donna Thibault told the News on Tuesday.

The response to this year’s entertainment was excellent as well. “We have booked over 100 trailers for next year already,” Thibault added.

Some of the popular acts on this year’s schedule were White Pine and the Mustangs, who also appeared last year, and the Abrams Brothers, making their first appearance on the Flinton stage.

Backstage_antics

“The Abrams Brothers have a following, and some people came just to see them, but people liked everything they heard,” Donna Thibault said.

During the Abrams Brothers’ set, John Abrams gave the first performance with a special fiddle that “the boys” will be playing for the next year.

The fiddle was presented to the brothers at the end of a week-long fiddle camp in San Diego that is run by the renowned session fiddler and composer Mark O’Conner (composer of “The American Seasons”).

It was made by American violin maker Jonathan Cooper to honour Daniel Pearl, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal who was kidnapped and murdered while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002. Pearl was an avid fiddler and his family decided to honour his memory by giving the custom-made fiddle to Mark O’Conner, to be handed out each year to a promising young fiddler to play for the year. The goal is to promote violin music and peace by playing the fiddle.

The Flinton Jamboree was the first concert the Abrams Brothers played after receiving the fiddle, and halfway through their afternoon set, John Abrams played the Pearl Fiddle while James sang one of their best-loved tunes, “Can I get an Amen.”

The Flinton Country Bluegrass Jamboree relies on a large corps of volunteers, with Flinton Rec. Committee members such as Carolyn Hasler handling the food, and at least 50 other people lending a hand.

There is little doubt the Jamboree will build on its success next year. The Thibaults like to stick with the excellent bands that come from the local region, and bring in some new talent each year. “It’s a year-round effort,” said Donna Thibault, “we being talking to bands and listening to CD’s they send us, as soon as one year’s jamboree is over.”

They will also be looking at their camping facilities, trying to free up extra space for more campers. Eventually, they might have to open up a second camping site, a few minutes’ drive away from the Flinton Recreation Centre, and set up a shuttle bus, in order to accommodate the demand that might be coming their way.

With such growth in only one year, Donna Thibault wonders what might happen in the next few years. “Word of mouth seems to have brought a lot more people in just one year, so you never know what could happen next year.”

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